Essam Attia is the New York street artist responsible for placing fake NYPD ads reading “Drones: Protection When You Least Expect It” around town. In September, he gave a video interview to Animal NY, with his identity and voice obscured, in which he discussed this project and his art in general. Wednesday morning, the NYPD arrested him at home.
The NYDN reports that he’s charged with “56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession,” the last (and possibly worst) charge coming because cops found an unloaded .22 pistol under his bed when they arrested him. On a practical level, Attia was not the most careful art criminal. He signed his work “ESSAM;” and he told Animal that he was a “a 29-year-old art-school grad from Maine, who served in Iraq as a ‘geo-spatial analyst.'” It probably did not take an incredible amount of police work to narrow down the possibilities.